Home Health and Fitness Ozempic has become a blockbuster weight loss drug : NPR

Ozempic has become a blockbuster weight loss drug : NPR

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ShantaQuilette Develle Carter-Williams, 44, was prescribed Ozempic after a life-threatening stroke. Her medication worked wonders until she couldn’t get it.

Cormesia Batty

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Cormesia Batty

ShantaQuilette Develle Carter-Williams, 44, was prescribed Ozempic after a life-threatening stroke. Her medication worked wonders until she couldn’t get it.

Cormesia Batty

The Oscars: A moment when Hollywood’s most famous and glamorous people gather to receive awards and showcase their couture.

“Everybody looks great,” said host Jimmy Kimmel as he walked around the stage a few weeks ago, looking at the famous faces.

“As I look around this room, I can’t help but wonder: Is Ozempic right for me?”

There was a smattering of laughter, but it seems the joke got a little too close to home.

In his opening monologue at the Oscars, comedian Jimmy Kimmel joked about Ozempic being called “Hollywood’s worst-kept secret.”

jimmy kimmel live

“Hollywood’s Worst Secret”

In the past few months, Ozempic has exploded, and everyone from Elon Musk to Chelsea Handler has talked about taking their version of the drug.

Comedian Chelsea Handler said on the podcast, “My doctor… just gives it to everyone.

But Ozempic’s rise to superstardom wasn’t what most people predicted. In fact, this drug was created by Novo Nordisk to help diabetics control their blood sugar.

But the drug’s side effect of rapid weight loss quickly stole headlines and made Ozempic a very popular commodity. It was so hot that it caused some problems for the people who were originally going to help.

“I wanted to try anything”

Five years ago, ShantaQuilette Develle Carter-Williams had a health crisis. She had a stroke at the age of 39 and temporarily lost freedom of her left side.

Carter-Williams is a stand-up comedian, writer, and producer in Los Angeles, but was completely unable to work after a stroke.

“I was eating and gaining weight, but I was really worried that if I continued to maintain this weight, I was very likely to have another stroke.

Her doctor recommended that she try Ozempic to lower blood sugar, lose weight, and prevent another stroke.

“I had never heard of Ozempic,” she recalls. “But you know, I wanted to try anything.”

“Actually, I forgot to eat.”

Wegovy, a drug similar to Ozempic, is a weekly injection that causes the body to produce insulin. Insulin lowers blood sugar, slows digestion, and makes you feel full. Carter-Williams tried it and was amazed.

“You’re not hungry,” she says. “You really have to set a timer to make sure you eat because otherwise you actually forget to eat.”

Carter-Williams’ weight began to drop immediately, as did her cholesterol and blood sugar levels. She and her doctor were thrilled. But as soon as she started to see results, she ran into trouble.

“I was going to renew my dosage, but they were like, ‘Oh, we don’t have that.'”

Carter-Williams began calling around, but the only pharmacy she could find that had stock didn’t take her insurance (a common problem with this drug). reportedly). So instead of her $25 a month, Ozempic’s prescription would cost her $1,600 a month.

It was then that Carter-Williams realized that Ozempic was at a critical moment.

“It was very popular,” she recalls. “It was all over social media.” Carter-Williams couldn’t afford expensive drugs, so she reluctantly quit them. Her weight she lost came back and her blood sugar and cholesterol started to rise.

“It was tough,” says Carter-Williams. “I mean, I wasn’t using it to match my Oscar dress. I really needed it for my health, but I haven’t been able to get it for a while.”

Ozempic’s popularity comes at a price

Dr. Jorge Rodriguez is a gastroenterologist in LA. He knew of his Ozempic for diabetes treatment, but hadn’t heard of it being used for weight loss until about a year ago.

“In fact, this is the first time I have heard from my patients that I would like to prescribe this use of Ozempic,” he says.

From that moment on, Rodriguez was asked almost every week to write a prescription for this drug.

While it’s legal for doctors to informally prescribe drugs like Ozempic, Rodriguez sees Ozempic’s popularity as a problem. Especially since they are very hard to find in many places and often not covered by insurance. Anyone who can afford to pay him $1,600 a month can get it.

“I’m not going to prescribe it for weight loss,” he says. “Otherwise, it limits and harms those who truly benefit from it, who are diabetics.

Rodriguez points out that another Novo Nordisk drug, Wegovy, contains the same active ingredients as Ozempic and is FDA-approved for weight loss. Still, he says it’s intended for people with life-threatening situations and won’t prescribe it otherwise.

Psst… Need Ozempic?

This is especially true as the weight lost has been reported to quickly return if Ozempic is not taken weekly. yeah.

In addition, supplies were scarce in some areas, causing people to pay exorbitant prices and resort to extreme means, such as traveling to Canada and Mexico.

That intense demand has also spawned a crop of entirely new businesses.

A number of telemedicine companies have emerged offering expensive monthly subscriptions to weight loss services that include access to Ozempic or similar medications (although the medications are usually paid separately).

One such service order, charges subscribers $100 per month. Purchased by Weight Watchers for over $100 million. This indicates that the multi-billion dollar weight loss industry is also getting into his Ozempic game.

Side effects…?

Rodriguez says another concern he has is around health issues. He points out that Ozempic is a fairly new drug. Known side effects such as extreme nausea, dehydration, and headaches may not be all there is.

Rodriguez points to fenfen, a super-famous weight-loss drug that has been around since the 1990s. “When fenfen was available, most people were using it,” he recalls. “And he in ‘Fen’ one is basically methamphetamine, and that’s speed.”

Phenfen has caused long-term health problems in some users, including serious heart disease.

Still, Rodriguez says Ozempic is a very promising drug for people with diabetes.

“Truly life changing”

With the help of doctors, Carter-Williams was finally able to secure a reliable, insurance-covered supply of Ozempic. And she saw what the fuss was about.

In the last 6 months she has lost over 60 pounds.

“You can tell my body works differently,” she says. “My blood pressure is better, my cholesterol is better. It’s really changed my life.”

According to Carter-Williams, people have noticed her weight loss and are often asked what her secret is. And when she tells them it’s Ozempic? “They were like, oh my god, I’ve been trying to get it!” she says with a laugh. “Can you tell me how you got it?”

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